XENIA — Two 10-year-olds — one on a horse, one on a pony — showed off their riding skills Aug. 4 in the Horse Arena at the Greene County Fair.
They performed musical freestyle routines, dressed in costume, and navigated cones and barrels during the Horse Fun Show.
Jaylen Stoneburner led her pony, Skittles, to “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas, then transformed him into a red-winged dragon and later raced him around barrels and cones.
“This is a fun show. It’s about basically having fun,” Stoneburner said. “I mean barrels are fun and riding on a pony is even funner.”
Stoneburner, a member of Jeans & Jodhpurs 4-H Club, explained riding a pony is no easy feat.
“When they trot it’s really bouncy. When you’re trotting from one end to the other it’s like you’re riding some sort of volcano that’s getting lava everywhere. So you’re like flying up in the air and then dropping down, flying up in the air — it’s kinda like posting but you’re not meaning to post.”
The 10-year-old continued.
“It’s like — “
*Clap, clap, clap*
” — It was amazing. It was amazing.”
Stoneburner has history with Skittles, a Shetland who wears a bedazzled harness she won during a barrel race when she was 4. She says they’re the same age.
“My mom got him for me for a surprise … I was 4,” she explained. “We got him from a lady. They spent like four hours trying to catch him because back then he was really skittish. Since we’ve joined 4-H and gone out to all these new places with him, he’s gotten a lot less skittish.”
Skittles, amidst at least a dozen horses, joined only one other pony in the arena.
“Yeah, I like being different,” Stoneburner said.
Regan Dunn, who hasn’t had as much time with her horse Stanley, experienced quite a few firsts this year — first year in 4-H, first year competing. Then, at the show — first place in musical freestyle, first place in costume class, and first time barrel racing.
“He’s never done barrels before. This is the first time we’ve ever done it,” Dunn said, still mounted. “I don’t think he really likes it … He was a little hesitant. It was my first time, too.”
Soon, Dunn heard over the loudspeaker that the two earned second place.
Also from Jeans & Jodhpurs, Dunn rode Stanley to the beat of Uncle Kracker’s “Smile” earlier in the day.
“We actually chose a song and then we switched it and then we practiced probably six times,” she said. “But we didn’t have a plan really. I had a few places in the song that I wanted him to trot and walk.”
Judges also agreed the pair deserved a blue ribbon for the costume contest when Dunn appeared on crutches with a black eye, alongside Stanley, who had a “Horse 4 Sale” sign draped around his neck.
Dunn said she leases Stanley, a 12-year-old thoroughbred and retired race horse, who she gets to visit a few days a week.
“He’s a great horse,” she said, leaning down and patting his neck.
She may not have the same history with him as Stoneburner does with her pony, but the two 10-year-olds agreed on one thing: It was a fun day.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.